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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 7, 2009 12:00am-12:30am EDT

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and as he put it so memorably in a handwritten letter to the nation, i know that for america, there will always be a bright dawn ahead. holding firm to the ideals that he embraced throughout his remarkable life, we can say the same. inspired by the example of ronald wilson reagan, we can pay even greater tribute to the monument here today. we can build that hopeful future he always saw before him. that is a living tribute we owe this great man. it is the tribute that his memory in this nation that he loved deserves. . . u. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, majority leader of the united majority leader of the united states senate . >> from his earliest days as an actor entertaining crowds at the las vegas strip to his profound -- my state always felt close to president reagan. the same week ronald reagan became governor of california there was a governor next door in nevada. paul managed his campaign. and on the day president reagan was down the street in the
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white house, paul worked here. paul was president reagan's number one confidant in the senate. when the president asked for things important that's who he went to. president trusted him with many difficult and classified assignments. when he sent him to the -- he is with us today to honor his good friend. he was so close to president reagan, some called him the first friend. we know nobody was more important to president reagan than his loving first lady nancy. mrs. reagan, it is wonderful to see you. i had a wonderful time visiting with you before we came here, exchanging stories about ronald reagan. but you are here today, smiling as always by president reagan's side.
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the talented sculptor said when he carved the statue he shaped the president's face in the familiar grin reagan would flash moments before one of his jokes. that grin came often. he told a lot of jokes. this is a fitting place to honor him. he began his first term telling the country that the americans held for more than a year in iran that they were on their way home. it was temperatures here that president reagan began his second term. the first inauguration i attended as a member of congress and the first and only time the president has taken the oath of office in the capitol rotunda. on that bitter cold day president reagan's characteristic confidence warmed and reassured america. here is what he said. shft a ribbon. he said it in this room.
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nearly quarter of a century ago. history is a journey. we think of those who traveled before us. president reagan's travels from dixon, illinois, hollywood, washington, dear lynn and beyond is as enduring of legacy as anyone. throughout that time nevadaians have been proud to call  president reagan our leader and our friend. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. >> it is a distinct honor, i know for my colleagues as well as myself to welcome so many distinguished guests on this very special day in the
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capitol. the unveiling of a statue in the capitol is always exciting. rarely are we able to to it in the presence of an immediate family member. it is usually about history. today it is a great privilege for all of us, for all of us to be joined by the former first lady, mrs. ronald reagan, nancy reagan. we are honored by your presence. [applause] president reagan and mrs. reagan have one of the great love stories of all-time and the american people benefited from that. the support, the love that mrs. reagan gave the president were a source of joy to the american people and again of strength to the president of the us.
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mrs. reagan, with your presence here today i hope you know that we honor you, not only for your support of the president for turning that support and love into action. with your support stem cell research has made a significant difference in the lives of many american people. it has saved lives. it has found cures. it has given hope to people. it is appropriate that we hear from leaders from both sides of the aisle and both chambers of the house. i am privileged that my predecessor is here. thank you dennis for joining us. [applause] also joined by the former governor of california, thank you governor for joining us.
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president reagan understood that bipartisanship was important in all of our debates. i see bob michael. i could introduce every one of you and you probably think i will. the president understood the value of bipartisanship and civility. he would never question the motives of a person because he knew people in public office loved our country and acted on behalf of the american people. his friendship with another speaker, tip o'neill was legendary. that was based on their irish
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heritage. it was characterized by grace and charm and good humor. and good humor department, i would like to share as a californiaian, the special pride that we take as californiaians in the unveiling of this statue today to tell you this story. when -- when president reagan was governor of california, he went over to the chamber, the assembly chamber, to deliver the state of the state address. it happened to be around the time of his birthday. so the legislatures wheeled in a birthday cake. the president proceeded, then governor, to blow out the candles and then someone called out to him and said governor did you make a wish. without missing a beat he said yes. but it didn't come true.
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the speaker of the assembly, someone who he did not share much political ground. he said yes, i made a wish but it didn't come true. he is still there. he is still there. in august 2006, that same state legislature voted overwhelming and in a bipartin way to establish ronald reagan's statue as our second california statue in the capitol of the united states. so, here we are today. standing next to this statue of president eisenhower over here. you see this statue. when we dedicated this statue not that long ago, members of president eisenhower's family were here and they told us he wanted to be depicted in his
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general's uniform as he was addressing the troops before d-day. president eisenhower, president reagan and all of us who take the oath of office know that our first responsibility is to protect and defend the american people. that is why it is so appropriate that president reagan's statue has contained within it chunks of the berlin wall. as a symbol of his commitment to national security. [applause] >> president reagan said we must preserve the flame of
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freedom and cast its light furtherer than those that came before us. that is our responsibility. but with the unveiling of this statue today, we know that all who come after us will forever know all visitors to this capitol the respect and the esteem and the admiration that california, this congress and the american people have for president ronald reagan. [applause] ♪
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, mr. frederick ryan jr. >> what a spectacular performance by the u.s. ampley chorus. tremendous. [applause] on behalf of the ronald reagan presidential foundation i would like to take this opportunity to convey the appreciation to the bipartisan leadership of both houses of congress for honoring ronald reagan in this special way. in the same spirit of reaching across the political aisle,
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congress passed and yesterday president obama signed legislation creating a national commission on the ronald reagan sen tinial. it will recognize president reagan's accomplishments and celebrate his legacy on the anniversary of his 100th birthday. we at the reagan foundation view this as the kickoff of the celebration. our warm and sincere thank you to senator and speaker pelosi for hosting us today. [applause] >> in building the presidential library and establishing the ronald reagan foundation, it was the president's desire that these organizations always be looking forward and not back. always focusing more on the future than on the past. because ronald reagan's core beliefs and principles are timeless, every bit as relevant
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today as they were three decades ago when he was president. the statue we are about to see is truly spectacular. we gathered here today for a purpose far more important than unveiling a new piece of art. today, we remember ronald reagan's great contributions to our country and we bring his legacy by placing his likeness here in the dome of this most hallow ground of american democracy. and knowing him as we do, president reagan would certainly be humbled but incredibly proud to receive this and honestor from the country he loved. and i know he would insist that this recognition is not just about one man, but about the values he stood for and the people who worked with him to make the country and the world a better place. we are delighted with us today are so many people who are part of that great time in our
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country's history and worked together with president reagan on bothens of -- both ends of pennsylvania veaf. they are gathered here today, many of the people who form the body and backbone of one of the most enduring chapters in our country's history. i am delighted to have the chance to introduce a man who was front and center in that story. first as president reagan's chief of staff, secretary of treasure, always his trusted friend and colleague, james a. baker. [applause] >> thank you very much. madam speaker, other distinguished members of both parties who are here.
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nancy, ladies and gentlemen, nancy i know that i speak for everyone here when i say thank you. thank you for your magnificent service as our nation's first lady. most of all for the love and the support that you gave our 40th president. because you created that secure space from which he ventures forth to change america and to change the world. and so as this ceremony honors him, nancy, it also honors you. [applause] now ladies and gentlemen, there are many people who deserve recognition for this beautiful statue of president reagan, including all of the members of congress who honor him with
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their presence here today. two other individuals played especially important roles. first of all, john rodgers. we are here today because of his financial generosity as the patron for this magnificent bronze. john, you served president reagan with great distinction in and out of office. now you have served his memory and his legacy. and second, the chairman of the board of trustees of the ronald reagan presidential foundation, fred ryan from whom you have just heard. fred, it was the foundation's vision that president reagan belong here in this hall. it was your perser veerens that turned that into a reality. and you the foundation have done a truly remarkable job. now ladies and gentlemen, if anyone belongs in this national
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hall collection it is ronald wilson reagan. [applause] . like samuel adams, he was an american patriot. like henry clay, he was a superb orator. like george washington, he was a truly great president. and like will rogers, because the gipper and oklahoma's favorite son had a lot in common. they both started movies, the boat love horses, and that both were rated telling a joke. our nation faced a number of crises. vietnam, watergate, oil shocks,
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and economic troubles. inflation and unemployment were high and public confidence was low. experts said america's best days were behind her and that we ought to lower our expectations. but ronald reagan and his boundless optimism would have none of that. we are not as some would have us believe doomed to an inevitable decline as he said as his first inaugural. we have every right to dream and to dream heroic dreams. and so ladies and gentlemen, we did. president reagan demonstrated the power of big ideas. he was guided by deeply held core values. principles. about taxes. about spending. about national defense.
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and most of all perhaps about the essential goodness of the american people and the greatness of america itself. at the same time this idealist was also a principled practicing mativity. he would fight the good fight, and when he had won all that could be won, he would accept the compromises that were dictated oftentimes by political reality, declare victory and move on. so you say well, how did he do. when he left office in 1989 the melees of the 1970's was but a distant memories. america's economy was more than six years into a boom that would continue almost two decades longer with only the briefest of recessions, truly
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minor ones by historic standards until our present difficulties began. and when he left office in january, 1989 america's preeminence in the world had fully been restored. he strengthened our military. he talked productively with our historic adve shareyings in moscow. the fall of the berlin wall was a testament to the wisdom of his policies. after restoring our economy and restoring our confidence and setting the stage for the end of the cold war, ronald reagan retired from politicalings. then he retired from public life. when the lord calls me home, whenever that may be, i will leave with the greatest love of this country of ours and eternal optimism for its
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future. you will remember we bid him a final farewell five years ago right here in this capitol. with the deepest respect and with love and yes, with tears. and with a renewed appreciation of what he had done for the us of america. that shining city on a hill that he saw so clearly and that he loved so very dearly. and now fittingly comes this magnificent bronze statue of this great american. it will stand forever as a silent century in these hallowed halls to teach our children and our grandchildren about that which once was and to inspire them with visions of that which can be again today,
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tomorrow and through generations. may god bless america and ronald wilson reagan. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome mrs. ronald reagan. [applause]
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>> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. i have so many people to thank, but i really particularly want to thank nancy pelosi for all that she did to organize this, bring it together, make it happen. i am very grateful to her. and to everybody else, too. but especially to nancy. the statue is a wonderful likeness of ronnie.
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and he would be so proud. you know the last time that i was in this room was for ronnie 's service. so it is nice to be back under happier circumstances. i want to thank everybody for being here and for your support your thoughts and your kind wishes and everything that's been said here today and the lovely, lovely singing. so beautiful. thank you


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